New Jersey's 'Safe Surrender' Day Draws 3,901 People

Including 550 not actually in any trouble
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2010 11:03 AM CST
New Jersey's Safe Surrender Program Draws 3,901 People ... Including 550 Not Wanted for Anything
Leslie Hogan is processed by Chris Miles, left, under the Fugitive Safe Surrender program held at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, Friday, Aug. 3, 2007, in Nashville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

New Jersey held a wildly successful Safe Surrender program last week, during which 3,901 people turned themselves in—including 550 people who weren’t actually wanted for anything. “For some people, this seemed to be a way to check: Do I have a warrant or not?” explains a spokesperson. The program offers people wanted for nonviolent crimes to surrender and, usually, be granted probation or a reduced fine instead of jail time. In exchange, authorities are spared the risk and expense of searching for and jailing these people.

The participants waited in line for hours, and most cases were then heard by judges. Twenty people were arrested during the event, most because they were wanted for violent crimes or had an outstanding warrant in another state, the Star-Ledger reports. Among the nonviolent offenders: a woman with 90 traffic tickets.
(Read more Safe Surrender stories.)

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